Senior Seminar and Directed Research Experience

The purpose of the Senior Seminar and Directed Research Experience (CDV 490 and CDV 498) is to provide students with the opportunity to engage in the theoretical and empirical grounding of a research project and develop research skills that would give them insights into how we build knowledge in the field of child development and consequently develop critical thinking skills. These two courses are designed to be taken together with the same instructor to allow the directed research experience to build on the theories and research discussed in the senior seminar. The senior seminar course is a writing intensive course. 

Students should attend the Capstone Information Session during the semester prior to their enrollment in these courses. Students will be notified of the date and time via their CSUDH email. During the information session, students will be informed of the topics of the research projects that will be available during the following semester. At the end of the session, students will complete a Senior Seminar and Directed Research Application form. If you are unable to attend the information session, you may pick up an application form at the Child Development Program office.

Applying for Senior Seminar and Directed Research

Students must complete and submit the Senior Seminar and Directed Research Application form to the Child Development Program office by the dates shown below depending on the semester in which the field experience is to be completed:

Semester in which the student will engage in Directed ResearchDate by which the Directed Reasearch form must be completed and submitted to the program office
FallApril 1 *
SpringNovember 1 *

*If the due date falls on a weekend or holiday, applications will be due on the next business day.

Current Research Projects

The following are ongoing research projects in the Child Development Program. Not all research projects will be available each semester. Please attend the Capstone Information Session to find out which projects will be available during the semester you plan to enroll.

Identity Formation in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood

This project examines emerging adults’ ideas of social class and the processes through which they come to perceive social class as an aspect of their own identity. The focus is on identifying the experiences that trigger emerging adults’ awareness of their social class status and whether and how they explore and come to a resolution about the meaning that their class status has for their own sense of self.
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Kimberley Radmacher

Close Relationships in the Transition to College

This project examines the role that close relationships (e.g., family and friends) play in emerging adults’ development during the transition to college. A focus is placed on the associations between the quality of these relationships and the emerging adults’ developing sense of self and mental health. Gender, ethnic, and social class variations in these relationships will be examined.
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Kimberley Radmacher

Children’s Conflict Resolution with Friends and Parents

The way children resolve conflicts with their peers is closely related to their adjustment in the peer group. This project examines the conflict between schoolage children and their friends and children and their parents. The primary purpose is to investigate how children resolve conflicts with their friends and whether this related to how the children’s parents’ resolve conflicts with them. In short, what are the connections, if any, between how conflict is resolved between children and their parents and children and their friends?
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Anupama Joshi

Child Custody and Family Adjustment

This project connects psychological and legal dimensions to investigate individual and family adjustment processes during and after child custody litigation. Currently, the research is focused on understanding the impact of procedural justice and distributive justice on families in child-custody litigation. This means whether and how fair court procedures matter to families in terms of their psychological adjustment, their health, their compliance with court orders, and their re-litigation rates. Because justice has been found to be important to people's motivation when dealing with others, the social psychology of procedural justice - the fairness of rules and processes – is used as a conceptual framework. The ultimate objective of this work is to contribute to an improvement of the policies and practices that govern the design and delivery of court services to families. This research has been funded by the National Science Foundation.
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Cornelia Brentano

Project on Cross-cultural patterns in marriage and divorce trends

The objective of this cross-cultural research is to advance current understanding of how important social variables (e.g., economic conditions, religion, political stability and freedom, literacy rates, gender equality) influence prevailing patterns in the marriage and divorce trends of 70+ nations. Over the past century, the probability of divorce or separation among married or cohabiting couples has increased. Concurrently, marriage rates have decreased or marriage has been delayed to older ages in many countries. However, such changes are more pronounced in some countries than others. The present study offers a systematic presentation of the variables that influence the differences in trends among countries. For more information please see my Faculty website.
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Cornelia Brentano

Children’s Self and their Conflict Resolution Strategies

This project investigates the link between children’s self-concept, social self-efficacy, emotion expression and conflict resolution strategies. In other words, do children’s ideas conceptions of themselves, whether children think they can successfully interact with their peers, and whether children can express their emotions are all related to how they react to conflict situations.
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Anupama Joshi

Narrative Study of Women’s Childhood Relationships

This study examines the autobiographies written by young adult women describing childhood relationships, neighborhoods, school experiences, peer relationships, dating and aspirations for the future. A strength of this qualitative approach to studying childhood relationships is that it provides us with the individual’s interpretation and meaning-making of her own experience. These perceptions are an important contributor to overall adjustment.
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Anupama Joshi